March 7, 2012 — The Oklahoma Senate on Tuesday voted 34-8 to approve a bill (SB 1274) that would require doctors to tell women that they have a right to hear the fetal heartbeat before an abortion, Reuters reports. The bill now advances to the House, where abortion-rights opponents significantly outnumber abortion-rights supporters, according to Reuters (Olafson, Reuters, 3/6).
Sen. Dan Newberry (R), the author of the bill, removed language that would have mandated that women listen to the fetal heartbeat (Weinger, Politico, 3/7).
Martha Skeeters, president of the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, said, "They're trying to shame or humiliate women who exercise their constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy."
The bill is the second measure restricting abortion rights that the Senate has approved this year (Reuters, 3/6). Last month, the chamber passed a bill (SB 1433) that would grant fertilized eggs "all the rights, privileges and immunities" of citizens (Women's Health Policy Report, 2/17). Supporters of SB 1433 expect it to pass the House (Reuters, 3/6).